Therapy for Families of Drug Addicts

What is the importance of therapy for families of drug addicts?

First, it is the family that often recognizes the problem before their addicted loved one is ready to acknowledge or get help for his or her addiction. Secondly, chances for sustained recovery increase dramatically when families are involved, as addiction reaches far beyond the individual.

There are two basic types of therapy for families of drug addicts: family education and family-involved therapy. Most substance abuse treatment programs perceive the importance of educating families of drug addicts on what addiction is. It is important for the loved ones of the addict to understand that addiction is not merely an issue of willpower; it is a brain disease that affects addicts in such a way that they are unable to stop using drugs despite negative, even devastating consequences, and despite them having the desire to stop.

Educational therapy for families of drug addicts

In educational therapy for families of drug addicts, families identify the ways in which addiction has affected the family relationships and are introduced to resources that can lend support while their addicted loved one undergoes individual treatment. There are support groups such as Al-Anon, Alateen, and Families Anonymous. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence provide information, assistance, and access to publications regarding drug abuse.

Family therapy for families of drug addicts

Family therapy is therapy for families of drug addicts that involves a collection of therapeutic approaches. The purpose of therapy for families of drug addicts is two-fold: first, it seeks to use the family’s strengths and resources to help find or develop ways to live without substances of abuse. Second, it diminishes the impact of drug dependency on both the addict and his or her family.

In family therapy, the goal of treatment is to meet the needs of all family members. Therapy for families of drug addicts addresses the interdependent nature of family relationships and how these relationships serve the addict and other family members, in both positive and negative ways.

The foundation of therapy for families of drug addicts is the belief in family‐level assessment and intervention. In addressing therapy for families of drug addicts, it is key to recognize that a family is a system, and in any system each part is related to all other parts. Accordingly, a change in any part of the system will bring about changes in all other parts. The focus of therapy for families of drug addicts is to intervene in these complex relational patterns, the family unit and its interrelationships, and to alter them in ways that bring about productive change for the entire family. Therapy for families of drug addicts rests on the systems perspective. As such, changes in one part of the system can and do produce changes in other parts of the system, and these changes can contribute to either problems or solutions.


Therapy for families of drug addicts addresses a range of influences on the addict’s drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning. In this way, therapy for families of drug addicts serves as a crucial support to the success of their loved one’s recovery.




History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis, Ph.D., was born in Pittsburgh, PA on September 27, 1913 and was raised in New York City. He held an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Albert Ellis held many important psychological positions that included: Chief psychologist of the State of New Jersey and professorships at Rutgers and other universities. More importantly, Albert Ellis was the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now popular Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT).

In 1954, Ellis began teaching his new techniques to other therapists, and by 1957, he formally set forth the first cognitive behavior therapy by proposing that therapists help people adjust their thinking and behavior as the treatment for emotional and behavioral problems. Two years later, Ellis published ‘How to Live with a Neurotic’, which elaborated on his new method.

Albert Ellis established the Albert Ellis Institute in 1959. The Albert Ellis Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission was to promote Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy as a educative and preventative theory. The Albert Ellis Institute promoted Rational Behavioral Therapy’s practice and theory through training professionals and the public. Initially Albert Ellis ran everything from his own private practice as a psychologist. Then Albert Ellis purchased a six story townhouse in Manhattan in 1964. He took that town house that had previously been occupied by The Woodrow Wilson Institute and used it for his work. Albert Ellis donated the earnings of his books to purchase the building and to fund the running costs of the Institute.

Albert Ellis practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling as well as sex therapy for over sixty years at the Psychological Center of the Institute in New York. Albert Ellis also served as president of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He also served as officer of several profession societies including the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy, the American Academy of Psychotherapists, and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

Albert Ellis was ranked one of the most influential psychologists by both American and Canadian psychologists and counselors. He also served as consulting or associate editor of many scientific journals. He published more than eight hundred scientific papers and more than two hundred audio and video cassettes. 

During his final years he collaborated with Michael S. Abrams, Ph.D., on his only college textbook Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives. Albert Ellis also wrote an autobiography entitled “All Out!” published by Prometheus Books in June 2010. The book was dedicated to and contributed by his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis who Ellis described as “The greatest love of my whole life, my whole life”. He also entrusted the legacy of REBT to her. In early 2011, the book Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by Dr. Albert Ellis and his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis was released by the American Psychological Association. The book explains the essentials of the theory of REBT and is considered an excellent basic guide in understanding the REBT approach for students and practitioners of psychology as well as for the general public.


Family Therapy

Family Therapy

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a type of counseling that is meant to help members of a family with their communication while also helping to work through any conflicts or issues that may be going on. Family therapy is normally done with a psychologist although a clinical social worker or licensed therapists can provide family therapy too. Most therapists who are involved with family therapy have at least a graduate or postgraduate degree and may or may not have credentials from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Family therapy is not a long term therapy. Family therapy can include all members of the family or just the ones who want and are capable of participating. The goal of family therapy depends on each individual situation. Family therapy can teach families to deepen connections and get through rough patches even long after family therapy is over.

Family therapy really is best at helping to improve broken relationships with spouses, children or other family members. During family therapy specific issues are addressed such as marital problems, financial problems, disagreements between parents and children, behavioral problems, or even substance abuse and mental health problems. Family therapy can be done along with other types of mental health treatments.

This is especially true for a family that has mental illness within it or someone with an addiction that also requires drug rehabilitation or individual therapy. For instance, family therapy can help a family cope if a relative has a mental illness such as schizophrenia or the family can utilize family therapy while the member who is addicted to drugs is in drug treatment. Family therapy is extremely useful for any and all families that may be going through grief, stress, anger or any type of conflict. Family therapy tries to bring family members together so they can better understand one another.

During family therapy several members get together with a family therapist. Family therapy sessions usually last around an hour. However many session of family therapy are needed depend on the each family’s individual situation. During family therapy the entire family will look at their ways of solving problems while also expressing their thoughts and emotions. Family roles, rules and behavior patterns will be explored in order to pinpoint the issues that may lead to conflict in order for it to be overcome. Family therapy can also help with realizing a family’s strengths, weaknesses or difficulty being open with one another.

The entire family therapy session is guided by a family therapist. The family therapist helps the family learn new ways to overcome unhealthy behavior patterns when it comes to relating with each other and communicating with each other. Sometimes the family therapist will have the family set goals together and they will work on ways to achieve them.

Family therapy does not ever automatically solve family issues or make uncomfortable, stressful, or hard to handle conflicts go away but family therapy can help each member of the family unit to understand one another better and can provide each person with skills to cope more effectively while coming together.